Jeep Cherokee | All-new engine and a refreshing new face

2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Front Right Quarter

Jeep is hoping this new look with new powertrain brings with it new customers and shores up the Cherokee’s position in the midsize SUV segment

The engine is similar to the one found in the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler, though that model features a mild hybrid system.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand is looking to hit record global sales of 2 million this year.

Give credit to several factors, including not only the surge in overall demand for utility vehicles but the rapid expansion of the Jeep line-up and the race to keep existing models fresh.

Though Fiat-Chrysler dropped a few images of the redesigned 2019 Jeep Cherokee in December, the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week served as its official launch.

The new engine - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also builds its Global Medium Engine in Termoli, Italy, but the Cherokee will be the first vehicle to get one built in MI - is rated at 270 horsepower. "We needed that to get attention" after the lackluster success of the supremely forgettable Liberty. Interior design chief Winnie Cheung describes the theme as "simplicity ... forms and shapes are very simple, but rich, with a modern look", and with "a more premium fit and finish".

Beyond having the most torque of the trio, the 2.0-liter turbo also adopts direct injection, stop-start technology, and lightweight materials in the pistons and camshafts to improve fuel economy.

Visually, the most immediately apparent update can be seen right up front. All halogen lights have been replaced by LEDs, even on base models.

But "we didn't want to take all the weirdness out of it", joked Mark Allen, the Jeep Design Director, during that background briefing. The new composite liftgate saves 18 pounds by ditching the old aluminum one and is now hands-free; open it with a swift kick of a leg under the sensor. The license plate holder has been moved, as well.

Three four-wheel drive systems are available in the 2019 Cherokee.

The four-cylinder and V6 engines from the previous generation will carry through to 2019, but the SUV will also add a turbocharged four-cylinder into the mix.

Inside, there are some subtle refinements, especially around the climate controls and the touchscreen display atop the center console. An optional 8.4-inch screen is available.

There's a redesigned center cluster bezel, with new piano black and satin chrome dash accents, and a radio upgrade. A welcome touch is the addition of more room for a phone near the charger and the addition of a rear USB port.

Cargo space is up with the '19, and there are improvements to the cargo storage space layout. "Fuel economy continues to be important, hence our new 2-liter engine, but we like to be accessible to many people. which is why we kept the 2.4", Mr. Manley said.

The "fuel-efficient" 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 engine with 180 horsepower and 170-pounds of torque. A rear-axle disconnect, meanwhile, engages when the Cherokee can operate in two-wheel-drive mode to further reduce fuel consumption.

Trailhawk is nearly a separate model within the Jeep family, and on the 2019 Cherokee, that model sits higher with wide fender flares, new wheels and dedicated 17-inch off-road tires. and the 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk has standard red tow hooks and there is a forged tow/recovery hook in the back. The new Trailhawk also gains specific red tow hooks, wider fender flares and a new 17 inch wheel design of its own. The locking rear differential also has a low range.

The new Jeep Cherokee highlights a choice of three innovative 4×4 systems: Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II and Jeep Active Drive Lock, which have been enhanced for unmatched 4×4 capability for all weather conditions.

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